In honor of my 22nd birthday I want to outline 22 reasons why I want to keep celebrating my birthday for years and years to come.
Being alive comes with an abundance of implications. We go through peaks and valleys that we have incomplete control over. Nonetheless we can find reasons for carrying on.
1) Music that truly captures an experience.
Studies have shown that music has the capacity of enhancing memory formation which is why we use it for making an experience more memorable. Romanticizing my life gets easier when I have music on the background.
2) A perfect cup of a hot beverage.
I've been a coffee drinker since I could barely talk because my mom would give me tiny sips of coffee after lunch back in the Dominican Republic. I've grown to appreciate the sensory comfort from a hot beverage from the aromatic steam to the flavor delivered with warmth.
3) Guided meditations on demand.
Daily meditation can do wonders for stress management and savoring the good times but doing it without guidance can be frustrating. I've been using Insight Timer and going on channels like The Mindful Movement on YouTube to stay grounded.
4) Kindness from fellow humans.
Taking a moment to appreciate when a stranger holds the door open for you, when someone gives you a compliment or when someone shares their practical insights on a particular topic online can help to compensate for the unkind things we see that aren't easy to forget.
5) Getting a hug.
6) Reading a good book.
Getting absorbed into a piece of writing has the potential to heal and elevate. This is why bibliotherapy is practiced and you can do this as your own healer.
7) A comfortable place to sleep.
Having a nice bed where I can decompress at the end of the day isn't something that I frequently appreciate, but my bed is one of the places where I spend close to the majority of my time in.
8) Access to nature.
Watching the wind blow through the branches of the trees, looking at the movement in the sky or hearing the sounds of birds chirping are all experiences that when analyzed closely make us realize how captivating the natural world is.
9) Contact with animals.
There are several physical and mental health benefits to having a pet. Their playful nature, company and detachment from the worries of the human world give us perspective.
10) Enjoying a dessert.
I have people in my life that really don't have a sweet tooth but whenever there's a dulce de leche cake involved they don't hesitate to get a piece. Dessert isn't necessary for having proper nutrition; it was designed to be enjoyed.
11) Opportunities for laughter.
There's a reason why people say that laughter is the best medicine. Multiple studies on laughter and wellbeing have nicely put forth evidence for this saying.
12) Smelling delightful scents.
Although the evidence for the effectiveness of aromatherapy is inconclusive we can still find joy by anchoring ourselves to the present moment with a scent. I find that whenever I light up an eucalyptus candle I treat myself and anyone that enters the room.
13) Opportunities to travel.
I haven't gotten close to traveling to all the international places on my bucket list, but I consider exploring any place I don't visit frequently like a chance for traveling. It's enriching to just wander around a new street and take pictures like a traveler.
14) Having deep conversations.
Talking about the things that really matter in life like purpose, values and goals always starts a fire in my belly. This is something an organization like Unlikely Conversations centers on.
15) Learning something new.
We can never run out of things to learn about. There are languages, historical and scientific facts, soft and hard skills and more things we can study. Knowledge is practically infinite.
16) Doing something creative.
One of my coping skills is adult coloring because it allows me to think creatively without the pressure of a blank canvas. Anything that involves turning something into something else requires creativity and can be positively transformative.
17) Telling a story.
Reading a meaningful book to someone you care about is a special bonding opportunity, but telling a personal story to those willing to listen can be truly empowering.
18) Helping others.
Contributing to something other than ourselves can help us cope and remain fulfilled. We're closest to our humanity when we help someone else by lessening their suffering or increasing their happiness.
19) Achieving a goal.
We all have an inclination towards unlocking whatever potential we have and being self-actualized. Accomplishing big and small goals build precious momentum in the marathon of life.
20) Access to technology.
The device you're using to read this took intelligent design and makes your life easier in some way. The exciting thing is that technology is evolving to meet more of our needs.
21) Overcoming a fear.
I used to be terrified of public speaking but I sought opportunities to be seen and heard. We so often miss out on possibilities because we're afraid. Overcoming a fear is rewarding and liberating.
22) Being in states of flow.
There's nothing like being in the zone when doing something meaningful to us. We can find flow in things like yoga, cooking or while enjoying music. You lose track of time, you're absorbed in the task and you know how well you're doing.